by Middlesex County Freeholder Director Ron Rios
We never know what winter is going to have in store for us. During these months we can face everything from light flurries and colder temperatures, to major storms that leave us covered in substantial amounts of snow and sometimes even without power.
Regardless of what this winter brings, you can protect yourself and your family, as well as minimize the risk of many potential hazards year-round by following these important safety tips:
- Space heaters sometimes increase the risk of fire and carbon monoxide poisoning, so make sure that your carbon monoxide detectors are working properly and that all space heaters are at least three feet away from any drapes, furniture or other flammable materials.
- Do not leave candles unattended, especially with children in the home
- Remember to winterize all of your windows and insulate your pipes to avoid any leaks due to cold temperatures.
- Remember to always have flashlights, batteries and a supply of food and water on hand in case of power outages.
For all outdoor activities, appropriate attire such as scarfs, hats, gloves, water proof shoes or boots are a must to keep yourself and your family safe and warm. Always be mindful of where you are walking outside, and remind children to be careful when playing on ice in order to avoid slipping and becoming injured.
When you are working outdoors, especially when shoveling snow, make sure that you do not over-exert yourself. Try to perform your work at a slower pace to avoid getting overtired.
Stock up on batteries, flashlights, portable radios, canned foods, manual can openers, bottled water and blankets so you are prepared if you are without power or need to stay in your home for an extended period of time. Use flashlights or battery powered lanterns instead of candles to avoid a potential fire hazard. If the temperature outside is below freezing and your home has no heat, run tap water at a trickle to help prevent pipes from freezing and bursting. Perishable food can be stored outside or in an unheated outside building.
The winter months present many safety hazards, but you can protect yourself and your family by planning ahead to minimize some of those risks. I hope these tips enable you and your families to have a safe and happy winter season.
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